The Three Stooges, E26, Playing The Ponies, 1937, Curly Howard, Moe Howard, Larry Fine
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The Stooges operate a failing restaurant and are plenty sick of it. Two men (Nick Copeland, Lew Davis) walk in and order food as they look over a racing form. One man laments the state in which his horse, Thunderbolt, is in, claiming that he is "all run out" and that he wants to dump him off on some unsuspecting sap. This works in his favor when Larry opens a newspaper and reads a story on a horse named Mad Cap who won a race worth $10,000 ($170,231 today). The Stooges then decide to sell their restaurant to Thunderbolt's owners and get into the horse racing industry.
Upon arriving at Thunderbolt's stable, Curly races the horse around the track. Curly misunderstands and runs alongside Thunderbolt, but he stops when Moe calls him over. Feeling hungry, Curly pulls out a handful of pepperino snacks that he swiped from the restaurant, thinking them to be salted peanuts. However, Thunderbolt eats them first and, with his mouth burning, literally "runs like lightning" towards the nearest water trough. Moe demands to know what Curly gave the horse, but he still believes them to be peanuts. To be sure, Moe eats a handful and suffers the same heated mouth as Thunderbolt and runs to the trough. Curly follows suit, and blazes to the trough as well. The Stooges quickly discover that the pepperinos caused Thunderbolt's sudden burst of speed and believe it to be their ace in the hole for future races. Larry laughs at the Stooges for this, in which Moe gives those pepperinos in his mouth, causing him to drink a bottle of kerosene by accident.
Once the race starts, Thunderbolt turns around and starts running in the opposite direction. Larry stops him and feeds him the hot peppers, but the effect is too much for Thunderbolt and he is too disoriented to run. Moe and Curly grab a bucket of water, hop on a parked motorcycle and drive alongside of Thunderbolt with the bucket hanging from a pole in front of the horse. Thunderbolt wins the race, and the Stooges enjoy the good life as they each eat their own turkey and Thunderbolt eats peanuts out of a large bowl in celebration.
Playing the Ponies was filmed on May 12–19, 1937. The film title is a straightforward slang expression meaning "betting on racehorses." It is the second and final Stooges film directed by veteran director Charles Lamont.
A colorized version of this film was released in 2004 as part of the DVD collection entitled "Goofs on the Loose."
Nick Copeland and Lew Davis reprise their roles from the last short, Cash and Carry as two con men who once again try to swindle the Stooges.
Directed by Charles Lamont
Produced by Jules White
Written by Irv Frisch
Starring Moe Howard
Cinematography Allen G. Siegler
Edited by Charles Hochberg
Distributed by Columbia Pi